Wichita State 90, DePaul 72

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The upper half of the Sprint Center was completely blacked out -- by black curtains -- that made it a more intimate atmosphere Monday night when Wichita State played DePaul.

The Shockers pulled down the curtains on the Blue Demons, running and leaping to a 90-72 win against DePaul in the semifinals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.

Wichita State (6-0) plays BYU (5-1) in the title game Tuesday.

Guard Ron Baker led Wichita State with 21 points, and guard Tekele Cotton added 17 as the Shockers built a double-digit lead in the first half and cruised to the victory.

The Shockers moved up two spots Monday, from No. 14 to No. 12, in the Associated Press rankings. Then they did their part to keep looking worthy of the promotion.

DePaul (3-2) had few answers after a quick two-point lead that was countered on a flurry of defense and layups.

Guard Brandon Young led DePaul with 16 points, he shot just 7-for-16 -- the kind of shooting inefficiency Wichita State craves to create.

Wichita State should edge a nice home-court crowd edge in the tournament final. BYU beat Texas 86-82 Monday, hitting 10 of 12 3-pointers and overcoming a size disadvantage and massive second-half foul trouble.

BYU likely would be ranked if not for a 90-88 home loss to nationally ranked Iowa State last week.

Cotton had 13 points and five rebounds in the first half. Baker produced 11 first-half points to help extend a 27-21 lead to as many as 17 points with 5:38 left in the first half on a basket by forward Cleanthony Early.

Wichita State led 52-34 at halftime behind a flurry of inside baskets. The Shockers were in front of a pro-Shockers crowd at Sprint Center, about a four-hour drive from campus.

The Shockers produced several dunks off fast breaks as Early got going, scoring 11 of his 15 points in the first half.

The key trio for Wichita State -- Cotton, Baker and Early -- was a combined to shoot 13-for-20 from the field before the break. They finished 19-for-29.

Center Tommy Hamilton led DePaul with nine first-half points on 3-of-6 shooting.

NOTES: With the win, Wichita State evened the series with DePaul at 4-4. ... The Shockers played in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic for the first time since 2009. ... DePaul faced a ranked opponent for the first time this season.
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